This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Tea
Good ol’ sweet tea has long been a part of the culture in the south, but these days, if you’re at a restaurant in the Carolinas, you’ll need to be more specific.
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka has been flying off the shelves since 2008, when its creators decided to make a sweet tea … with a little kick.
And true to the Lowcountry’s love of libations, this sweet southern vodka received an overwhelming response from the locals, became a South Carolina novelty, and the Firefly Distillery has become one of the Charleston area’s many interesting places to visit.
And if you think you can spike your own store bought tea and sugar with vodka, think again. Even knockoff brands are losing this race. What makes Firefly so unique are the special ingredients that it’s made with.
The tea is harvested and produced just a few miles away from the distillery on the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only working tea farm in America. It’s sweetened with real Louisiana cane sugar, has no artificial ingredients, and the vodka is distilled onsite.
The Firefly Distillery and Tasting Room
The Firefly Distillery is located on the 10-mile picturesque Wadmalaw Island, about 30 miles south of downtown Charleston. An area decorated with live oaks draped in Spanish moss, it sits at the end of a winding dirt road with a very small sign. It’s an off the beaten path location, but well worth the trip.
For $6.00, the Tasting Room offers tastings of all of their different flavored vodkas and a Firefly shot glass. The signature vodka, Firefly Sweet Tea, tastes so much like traditional sweet tea, you will surely forget your drinking alcohol. You can also purchase bottles of any flavor, including their own handcrafted vodka without the tea.
The grounds are beautiful and make for a great picnic area. Goats, dogs, rabbits, pigs, and chickens roam the property providing loads of fun for the kids. Add in a tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation down the road, and the 1500-year old live oak tree at Angel Oak Park, and you have a fantastic day trip. Watch The Firefly Story.
The Firefly Guys
Jim Irvin and Scott Newitt, the creators of Firefly, were blown away by the overnight success of their southern spirit. Proud of their southern roots, Jim and Scott show that with passion, hard work, and lot of practice … ahem … taste testing … it’s still possible to achieve the American dream.
They are also huge music fans, and were on the road all summer with well-known band, the Rascal Flatts, in their Firefly-branded RV, as a featured part of the 2011 “Flatts Fest” concert tour. They were invited to tour with Rascal Flatts, after becoming the largest “liked” spirit brand on the Rascal Flatt’s Facebook page.
Find the Fly
What became a cultural icon in South Carolina, has now spread across the country. Although you can’t buy it online, you can find a location that sells it on the Find the Fly page of the Firefly website. You can also find them on their Official Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka Facebook page. But if you’re out and about in the Carolinas, just ask your server or bartender. But make no mistake … this ain’t your Grandma’s tea!